Ahn, Jae Hyun and Hyun Il Choi, 2013. A New Flood Index for Use in Evaluation of Local Flood Severity: A Case Study of Small Ungauged Catchments in Korea. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 49(1): 1-14. DOI: 10.1111/jawr.12025
Abstract: The aim of this article is to develop a new index measuring the severity of floods in small ungauged catchments for initial local flood information by the regression analysis between the new flooding index and rainfall patterns. Although a rapid local flood caused by heavy storm in a short period of time is now one of common natural disasters worldwide, such a sudden and violent hydrologic event is difficult to forecast. As local flooding rises rapidly with little or no advance warning, the key to local flood forecasting is to quickly identify when and where local flooding above a threshold is likely to occur. The new flooding index to characterize local floods is measured by the three normalized relative severity factors for the flood magnitude ratio, the rising curve gradient, and the flooding duration time, quantifying characteristics of flood runoff hydrographs. The new flooding index implemented for the two selected small ungauged catchments in the Korean Peninsula shows a very high correlation with logarithm of the 2-h maximum rainfall depth. This study proposes 30 mm of rainfall in a 2-h period as a basin-specific guidance of precaution for the incipient local flooding in the two study catchments. It is expected that the best-fit regression equation between the new flooding index and a certain rainfall rate can provide preliminary observations, the flood threshold, and severity information, for use in a local flood alert system in small ungauged catchments. Editor's note: This paper is part of a featured series on Korean Hydrology. The series addresses the need for a new paradigm of river and watershed management for Korea due to climate and land use changes.